The pizza box problem — and why it might kill everything from Teflon to drugs

By Mark Jones

It looks innocuous in my hand, yet there are growing calls to ban it. It may use technology created for the Manhattan Project, but, in my hand, it doesn’t feel like a weapon. It feels natural, in spite of the very unnatural materials it may contain. I’m not at all cautious as I open it. Reaching in, I grab a slice. I do love pizza.

Pizza predates the Manhattan Project. Although pizza technically isn’t the problem, it’s the box. Cardboard for pizza boxes have been made resistant to both grease and steam using fluorocarbons. Five years ago, almost certainly, per- or polyfluorinated alkyl substances, PFAS, would have been used. Some states have now banned PFAS in things like pizza boxes. I’m not in one of those states. I can’t be sure whether the box in my hand uses PFAS or not.

PFASes were initially identified as a health concern at hotspots. There are many maps with marke…

Read more
  • 0